Dunnottar Castle hires extra staff '˜to deal with tourists'

ONE of Scotland's most iconic castles is having to hire an extra custodian after appearing in a star-studded Hollywood movie.

Exterior of the ruins of Dunnottar Castle in Kincardineshire.
Exterior of the ruins of Dunnottar Castle in Kincardineshire.

Dunnottar Castle, a 17th century Aberdeenshire fortress perched 160ft above the North Sea, features in Victor Frankenstein, starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe.

The castle is now enjoying a big increase in visitor numbers, up 8,000 on the previous year to 89,000.

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To cope with the 700 to 800 visitors to the historic ruins during the summer, bosses are advertising for a assistant custodian to boost staff numbers from four to five.

Dunnottar Castle.
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The salary is being kept under wraps but duties involve opening and closing the castle, collecting entrance fees and making sure visitors stay safe on the clifftop.

The winning candidate also has the more glamorous duty of assisting the custodian with “wedding parties and film companies”.

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McAvoy and Radcliffe spent a week late 2014 filming at the castle, which was used to hide the Scottish Crown Jewels from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army.

Dunnottar also featured in Mel Gibson’s 1990 version of Hamlet and provided the inspiration for the home of one of the characters in Brave.

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Daniel Radcliffe filming on the set of Victor Frankenstein.

Staff believe that the increase in footfall could be down to “set jetters” - film fanatics who travel around the globe to visit set locations.

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Custodian, Jim Wands, said: “During the summer it’s been mad with around 700-800 people visiting daily.

“I know that Visit Scotland said that people were “set jetting” around the world visiting sets so the increase in interest could be down to that which is great.”

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He added: “Victor Frankenstein was filmed here for a week at the end of 2014 which, going by all accounts, was very special.

View of Dunnottar Castle.
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“We also get so many people saying how the castle and it’s surroundings would make a brilliant set for Outlander.

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“I would be delighted if they wanted to use the castle for filming. Maybe I will have to get in touch with them.”

It is the second year running that the castle has had to boost staff. Last year, they were inundated with applications after deciding to hire a fourth custodian.

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Dunnottar Castle.

A VisitScotland spokesman said: “Dunnottar Castle’s dramatic cliff-top setting is a magnet for film-makers and visitors alike, providing the inspiration behind DunBroch - Merida’s family home in Disney-Pixar’s Brave - while most recently featuring prominently in Victor Frankenstein starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe.

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“Set-jetting, where people visit the shooting locations of their favourite movies, is big business with research showing that 40 per cent of visitors to the UK come here after seeing a destination on film or television, so it is fantastic to hear the attraction is continuing to benefit from its screen-time.”

The closing date for applications is January 24, 2015 with a start date being the first week of April.

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Daniel Radcliffe filming on the set of Victor Frankenstein.
View of Dunnottar Castle.